The past week has seen renewed interest in
Ainan from several quarters. Unbidden, we have been contacted by various media,
with interview requests. First off, was the commissioning, by the Star, of an
article from me, on my personal experience of raising a child prodigy. That
appeared in The Star on 25th April 2012.
Next was a TV interview on the 12 pm and 8
pm news on NTV9 on Saturday, 28th April 2012. This turned out to be
a brief segment just after the major news of the day. They had about an hour of
interview material, but they cut it down to a minute or two – so almost
everything was left out, which is a pity. Nevertheless, it did manage to
address a couple of interesting developments in Ainan’s life, over the past few
years. Images were shown of Taylor’s University logos and their American Degree
Program, which Ainan is now attending.
On Sunday, 29th April, 2012
there was a small article in The New Paper, in Singapore about Ainan. This was
a group article covering several gifted individuals. The headline title was “Meet
the whiz kids”, with the individual title for Ainan’s story being: “Only 12 and
he’s in Uni”. This article arose from an email interview, by the journalist Nur
Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, the week before. She asked many questions of both Ainan
and myself, and received quite a few pages of answers in reply. In the end,
though, the article was a brief one, at just over 140 words. It seems that the
editor didn’t want to devote much space to it. However, the article mentioned
that Ainan is now studying at Taylor’s University on the American Degree
Program and pointed out that he is doing a balanced mixture of science, maths
and humanities courses. So, though brief, it got the main message across.
It is interesting to compare the relative
interest in Ainan between Malaysia and Singapore. In Malaysia, I was given 1800
words of space to write an article on raising Ainan, in the largest English
daily newspaper with over a million readers. It took up three pages of the
newspaper, including the front page of the Star 2 section, which consisted of a
full page photo of myself and Ainan. We were also highlighted on the news, of
the second most popular TV channel. In Singapore, however, we were given a 140
plus word mention, in a relatively small newspaper with a circulation of about
a hundred thousand. This pattern of differential interest has held since we
left Singapore for Malaysia. Our doing so, two years ago, was mentioned in
almost every newspaper in Malaysia, with large articles, some of them front
page articles. We were also mentioned on the news on several TV channels, as
well as on the radio. It was almost blanket coverage. In Singapore, however,
our move was mentioned in just ONE newspaper – a Chinese daily, in a small
article. Interestingly, within a few days, the online version of that article
was pulled down, as if someone wished to censor mention of it completely.
Ainan was born in Singapore, though his
grandmother was born in Malaysia. One would expect, therefore, that Singapore would
be very interested in discussing him in their media – however, it is Malaysia
that is more interested in doing so. This could be because Ainan is half Malay
and Singapore is a Chinese dominated country, that quite often plays quite
obvious race politics, though they would deny it. Had Ainan been born half
Chinese, I am sure the response to him in Singapore would be more enthusiastic.
Anyway, it matters little. We are happy here in Malaysia. We are making
progress in our life objectives – parents and children alike – and it is a comfortable
country in which to live. So, we have no complaints.
I didn’t expect this recent media interest
in Ainan. I cannot say whether there will be any more of it. My policy towards
it, is to answer the questions of any inquiring journalist, if their newspaper
or magazine seems to have honest intentions, towards the subject. Yet, we are
circumspect, too. NTV9 wanted to follow Ainan around for a day, going into his
every class and recording everything he did. We turned that down flat, because
it would have been far too intrusive and would have made Ainan very
uncomfortable – as it would make most people uncomfortable. Ainan is
essentially shy. The last thing he needs is to be followed everywhere. So, we
didn’t allow it. We gave them, instead, a sit down interview in a quiet lounge,
since that is what Ainan was comfortable with. Thus, to those who are critical
that we allow media access, I would say this: we are far more discerning about
the type of access given and the way it is done, than you might think. At all
times, we are careful to ensure that Ainan is comfortable with what is being
asked for. We must also be comfortable with it.
The piece in the Star allowed me to put
across some of the key issues relating to raising a prodigiously gifted child
and I think that has an important public information role. It is my intention
to raise public awareness of the particular problems gifted children face, in
securing an appropriate education and upbringing. I am grateful, therefore, for
any opportunity to do so.
On Saturday, 28th April, I was
one of the speakers at an NAGCM (National Association for Gifted Children
Malaysia) forum on educational acceleration entitled: “Fast Track Kids: should acceleration be allowed, for whom and why?” It
went very well and the discussion with the audience was very energetic and
interesting – even inspiring. Many matters surrounding educational acceleration
were discussed by myself, by Kylie Booker, a gifted education teacher and Head
of the Middle School, at the Australian International School Malaysia and by
Lucas Teh, who went to a local University aged 15.
There was a journalist in attendance, so I
am hoping that there will be an article about the forum and the issues
discussed. I will let you know if there is.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
(If you would like to support my continued writing of this blog and my ongoing campaign to raise awareness about giftedness and all issues pertaining to it, please donate, by clicking on the gold button to the left of the page.
To read about my fundraising campaign, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2011/01/fundraising-drive-in-support-of-my.html and here: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2011/01/fundraising-drive-first-donation.html
If you would like to read any of our scientific research papers, there are links to some of them, here: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2011/02/research-papers-by-valentine-cawley-and.html
If you would like to see an online summary of my academic achievements to date, please go here: http://www.getcited.org/mbrz/11136175To learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 7 and Tiarnan, 5, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html
I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.
There is a review of my blog, on the respected The Kindle Report here:http://thekindlereport.blogspot.com/2010/09/boy-who-knew-too-much-child-prodigy.html
Please have a read, if you would like a critic's view of this blog. Thanks.
You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to: http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Who-Knew-Too-Much/dp/B0042P5LEE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284603792&sr=8-1
Please let all your fellow Kindlers know about my blog availability - and if you know my blog well enough, please be so kind as to write a thoughtful review of what you like about it. Thanks.
My Internet Movie Database listing is at:http://imdb.com/name/nm3438598/
Ainan's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3305973/
Syahidah's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3463926/
Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is athttp://www.genghiscan.com/This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)
Labels: child prodigies and the press, gifted children, mainstream media, media interviews, modern fame